The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) says about 70 nurses and midwives have tested positive for COVID-19 while 15 health workers have lost their lives to the disease.
At a media briefing to commemorate 2020 Nurses Day in Abuja, on Friday, Abdurafiu Adeniji, president of NANNM, said almost 1000 nurses and midwives have been exposed to COVID-19 while about 200 are in isolation.
He listed inadequate personal protective equipment, lack of health insurance as part of issues health workers contend with while saving lives.
He said the health system is on the verge of being overwhelmed.
He also said there is a rise in assaults on nurses while non-disclosure of medical and travel history has continued to put health workers at risk.
“Over two thousand Nigerian health care professionals, especially nurses and doctors, have been exposed to COVID-19 while about 15 health care professionals have lost their lives,” Adeniji said.
“Our health care system appears to have been over-stretched and on the verge of being overwhelmed.
“The statistics as received through NANNM COVID-19 situation report room, almost one thousand nurses and midwives have been exposed to coronavirus, out of which about 200 are currently on isolation and about 70 out of about 600 that have been tested have tested positive. On the whole, about six nurses and midwives have lost their lives.
“There are also increase assaults on the nurses and midwives, hiding of medical/travel history as well as non-disclosure of contact with an infected individual when patient and relative present at the health care facilities.
“These further expose frontline health care professionals to infections, particularly COVID-19 in our resource constraint society.
“As we are talking, go and ask professional associations like Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), nurses, who are most affected, as at the last count, when we are saying about 15 people have died, the NMA alone was claiming 7 or 8.
“Nurses that are affected as of this morning are more than 250. This is not including the people that are in isolation. More than 25 percent of the total fatality from COVID-19 VID-19 are actually health workers.”
On the health insurance that the federal government said it has put in place for health workers, he said the government is merely paying lip service.
“The insurance that the federal government claimed to have put in place, I want to say unequivocally and without fear of retribution that what is on ground in Nigeria is just abracadabra,” he said.
“Concerning the life insurance, no health worker has ever filled any form. If the N11 billion is somewhere, I am sure that the federal government is keeping it.
“The agreement was signed barely three weeks ago and from that time till now, the thing is yet to hit the stand.
“The federal government only did a lip service that they will impress upon the Governors’ Forum.”
He said the N2 million life insurance is not enough for each health worker and that the government should provide between N20 million and N50 million to each individual.
He said: “People have laid down their lives and paid the supreme sacrifice and what goes to each individual is about N2 million. This is not enough to take care of the family of an individual.
“Our proposal to the government is that every life is worth more than several million. The least from our proposal is that they should provide between N20 million to N50 million for an individual to be able to at least take care of the people.”
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